Q

Does homeowners insurance cover fences?

A

Fences are protected from the same perils as your home or roof. But the cause of damage will determine how much they cover or if they cover it all.

Elissa

Elissa Suh

Published April 9, 2019

A fence is meant to protect your house and so is homeowners insurance. But does homeowners insurance cover your fence, too? If it’s knocked down by a huge windstorm or a tree falls on it, a typical homeowners insurance policy will usually cover it.

Homeowners insurance coverage is not limited to just your house, but extends to the valuables and belongings inside and outside of it and the structures surrounding it, like your fence. We’ll go into some examples of when your insurance covers fence damage, and the few instances when it does not.

Read on:

When homeowners insurance covers fences

With a standard homeowners policy, fences are protected from the same perils, or hazards, as your house and roof. This protection comes via other structures coverage — a component of homeowners insurance that covers structures separated from the dwelling, like a detached garage, shed, or in-ground pool.

A standard homeowners insurance policy will cover disasters like fires and storms, or malicious acts like vandalism.

That means homeowners insurance coverage will pay for damages when you file a claim if your fence is:

  • Burned by a fire
  • Struck by lightning
  • Blown down by a windstorm
  • Damaged by hail
  • Stolen by your neighbors
  • Vandalized by kids
  • Damaged by a fallen tree
  • Hit by a car

With the last two situations, fence damage might be covered in other ways, which we’ll discuss next.

What if a tree falls on your fence?

Damage incurred by fallen objects is typically covered by your homeowners insurance policy. That means if the sky drops a pig on your fence, or your neighbor’s tree knocks it down, your insurance policy has you covered. In some situations, the insurance provider may even cover the tree removal.

If the fallen tree originated on your property, then whether or not the fence is covered depends on why the tree fell.

For example, if a thunderstorm or fire knocked down the tree, then your fence is covered. However, if the tree fell because of rot or age home insurance won’t cover the fence damage. Perils like floods or earthquakes are covered by their own separate insurance.

If the fallen tree was on your neighbor’s property, you should still file a claim with your insurance company according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). If the neighbor is accountable for the damage, your insurance company will try to collect money from their provider to pay for the loss or out-of-pocket expenses.

What if a car hits your fence?

While homeowners insurance will cover the fence in the event of a vehicle collision, you may want to file a claim with the driver’s car insurance instead. After the accident, call the police and exchange information with the driver. Since they’re at fault, they’ll pay you for the damages through their liability car insurance.

If the fence-wrecking motorist doesn’t have car insurance or can’t pay you for the loss, you can still file a claim with your homeowners insurance. Just be aware that you’ll have to pay your deductible toward repairs. Your insurer may also raise your premiums down the road.

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How much fence damage does homeowners insurance cover?

Other structures like your fence are typically insured for up to 10% of your dwelling coverage (the overall amount of coverage you selected for the house). If your house is insured for $500,000 then you have a $50,000 claim limit for other structures like your fence.

Most common homeowners insurance companies will reimburse you the replacement cost value (RCV), or the full cost of repairs, so make sure you get a proper estimate for the damage. But some policies may only pay the actual cash value (ACV), or the cost of replacement after depreciation. You can check the declarations page to confirm. Usually the first page of your policy, it tells you important details like the reimbursement method, as well as your coverage amount and deductible.

The deductible is the amount you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company steps in to pay for a covered loss. Lower deductibles mean higher premiums and vice-versa. You can read more about deductibles, get easy insurance quotes from Policygenius, and learn about homeowners insurance discounts.

When homeowners insurance does not cover fences

You can’t file a claim for fence damage if it wasn’t caused by one of your policy’s covered perils. Among the more standard exclusions are mold, termite damage, wear and tear and neglect. If your fence is rotting or being eaten by termites, that’s not covered either since it considers both of these preventable maintenance issues.

Some natural disasters like floods and earthquakes have their own separate policies, as do hurricanes depending on your state and provider.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.